Broken sewer pipe led to clam, oyster harvesting ban

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comDecember 9, 2011 

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A broken pipe caused about 500 gallons of sewage to enter a tributary of Battery Creek on Thursday, leading state officials to close nearby shellfish beds.

Crews were replacing pumps at a station near the intersection of Battery Creek Road and First Boulevard when the leak occurred, according to Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority spokesman Matthew Brady.

"We estimate about 500 gallons of sewage or less overflowed, but it is undetermined how much of that may have actually made it to a water body," Brady said.

In response, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control closed all clam and oyster harvesting beds in Battery Creek and its tributaries until further notice.

DHEC officials said the closure is temporary, the result of potentially elevated bacteria levels from the spill.

Signs notifying boaters, fishermen and others of the closure have been posted in Battery Creek, Brady said.

BJWSA is helping DHEC test the water for harmful bacteria to determine when the beds may be reopened, he said.

"The spill was relatively minor so it may be very soon," Brady said. "However, this is DHEC's call, and we are working with them on this issue."

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